goodbye pacifier, hello reminder

Yesterday we decided to be done with Asher's pacifier.

say it ain't so!

(Actually, Ryan decided and I begrudgingly tried hard to see why this made sense on this particular day because yeah, I'm quite easy-going about such things, I'll admit it--I don't get all uptight about what the books or other people say about pacifiers.) (And yes, Asher is 3 and a half and still slept with a plastic thing in his mouth.) (Don't judge.)

So last night was the big night, if only on a whim, and so we prepared ourselves for a fight. We prepared ourselves to get up a lot. We tried to prepare Asher by talking about it throughout the evening, before bedtime.

He argued a whiny attempt at changing our minds incessantly for the last ten minutes before bed, his enormous blue eyes looking up at us, begging. So we tried bargaining and praising and convincing, etc...infinity...

But he continued to say things like, I don't want anything but my paaaaciiiiii. (And believe you me, it was so tempting to say OKAY FINE because he's the cutest little cherub with a nasal-y voice you ever did see.)

I carried him to bed and whispered good things to him. I put him down and told him that he's a big strong boy, just like his big brother and that I knew he could do it.

And then, after all that arguing and whining, he said, "You are right, Mommy." (With a little quivering lip, a big sigh and very sad Goodbye Paci eyes.)

Then he immediately went to sleep and did not make a peep all night long and slept later this morning than usual. True story.


I'm consistently surprised by motherhood. By parenting. By life with kids. We hardly ever get what we expect no matter how we try to prepare or not prepare and no matter how uptight or easy-going we are. All I really no for sure is how totally out of control I am no matter how much I try to control things.

I'm in no way an expert on anything. I mean, I allowed my boy to have a pacifier until age 3.5 (and honestly, I'm totally cool with that), but if I could give one piece of advice (even though I'm truly not much of an advice-giver, since I know that can be annoying) to new parents, this would be it:

Roll with it, friends. Almost everything in the early years works itself out in its own time, it really does. The sleep schedule, the feeding schedule, the potty training and the pacifying. These are simply small things when you look back. So trust your heart-gut rather than the books or even the experts and do your best to...well, relax.

I wish I had done that, from the beginning. And maybe it just takes time for us to learn to do that. But it's not laziness to relax a little. I think it might just be surrender--to life with kids, on its own terms. Of course it's important to remain consistent with discipline and all that, I'm not saying it's not. I'm simply talking about letting go and living out the process and trusting your heart-gut if it's telling you everything will be okay, even if it's not right now.

I mean, really friends. If I don't take on this attitude myself, I may not be able to handle it tonight when Asher has a complete fit over not having a pacifier anymore.

(Look at me, trying to predict the future again. My learning curve...it ebbs and flows.)

36 clicked right here to comment:

One Crafty Mother said...

That first picture? Holy adorable.

And what you say is so very true. When I can remember to surrender to the ebbs and flows of parenting, everything always works out just fine.

Sometimes I forget, and make myself miserable for a while - trying to control everything, or feeling guilty over everything - until I'm so miserable I remember to let go.

It's so much better to float.


Heather said...

I always tell my new mom friends to learn to embrace the chaos, because there will be lots of it.

The Clines said...

Great advice, Heather! I've spent too many years worrying about doing something wrong, something that will screw up my kids FOREVER. I wish I had chilled a bit more, but there's still time and I've been enjoying life more since I've tried to relax.
Happy New Year!

jodilee0123 said...

My Jada still empties out every toy bin in hopes of finding her nookie. She will even tell me she is looking for her nookie. She went to bed without it one night and didn't ask for it in the morning and we rolled with it. Lots of distraction. It's been a few months, but I have to say life hasn't been the same without nookie. Jada is more sensitive, more sassy, much easier to understand when she talks (most of the time), and traveling has been a bit easier since it doesn't get lost everytime she sneezes in the car. (A DVD player helps with that.) I still feel like I traumatized her. I think I miss nookie more than her. If it weren't for my hubby--she would still have it too. :0)

MommyJ said...

Amen, and amen.

I had a friend who has one little boy, just over 2 years old, ask me the other day what she should do about potty training. In he words, "It just isn't working."

You know what I told her? I said to quit trying. Give it a rest, a week, a month (more like a year, cause seriously, potty training before three is generally just hard stuff, yes?)and don't stress about it. Then, when you think he might be ready, try again. If it doesn't work that time, then stop again. Wait a little while, then try again. But DON'T stress.

Because stress begets stress. In big people, and in little people too.

Wise words you've shared today my friend.

Dawn said...

I don't follow the parenting books either, I just go with my gut and so far I've done OK. Parents know their children best. We decided at a year to take my youngest son's pacifier away and thought it would be a big deal. Low and behold, it was never an issue, he didn't ever ask for it once! Thanks for sharing.

jen said...

lovely words and story to go with it.
and wise.
like another said ... i miss it more than she does now. and i secretly (though not anymore) kept one hidden away in my drawer.
when she turned three ... she got to use a big girl scissors to cut off all the tips. then she could still hold them ... but couldn't suck. and dude. i'm a speech pathologist. and she had one until age three. so there.

nicole said...

You are so right. That is what I always tell people who ask us for advice. Just do your best. Trust yourself.

Robin said...

The big, "let go" items....crib to toddler bed, bottle to sippy cup, sippy cup to regular cup, paci, etc. Those items always surprise me how well the kids transition, when I totally think they are going to be this huge struggle.

It's the little things, like getting off play structures when it's time to leave, that cause me the most drama with my kids. So, yes...I agree! Relax and go with the flow is wise! :)

blueviolet said...

I can't believe it was that easy. That's the way to kick off the new year, Asher. :)

warmchocmilk said...

We are talking about getting rid of the "nooney" (Liam's pacifier) here too. But he says things like ..."You don't love me" When we start to talk about it. He knows just how to get me. I think he'll have it until he goes to college. And really... I don't mind :)

Sara said...

My Nick was nearly four when the "suckie Fairy" wrote to him saying there was a new baby that really needed a suckie. (One of our cousin's was expecting a baby...) So , Yes is was sad, but Nick put his suckies in an envolope and wouldn't you know the suckie fairy left a pretty sweet big boy toy for Nick and a week later, When we met Baby Daniel, he had a red suckie! Nick said "*gasp* Look he has my old suckie! And he weally (really) likes it!" Ta da!
What is good for one child isn't always the best way for another EVEN when those children live in the same house...There is no cookie cutter way of doing things.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

"Roll with it, friends." Oh my, yes.

As you might have guessed, I am not so good about rolling with the punches. Any resilience I do have has been hard won through 3 1/3 years of being a mom. And now, with Baby #3 set to arrive next month and, with him or her, one more chance to prioritize my heart over my urge to do research, I am so grateful for this reminder and your vote for going with the flow.

P.S. Asher is rather cute.

P.P.S. My word verification is "bacio," Italian for "kiss." Me likey.

Anonymous said...

Roll With It...best advise you can possibly give to any mother. I keep telling my new-mom Sister that, she is having a rough time.

Boo had a paci till she was almost 3, and only stopped having it on accident. Hubby had the last remaining one in his car, and he went out of town! No more paci...

KLZ said...

My heart gut is often right. Because I give in to that cherub voice in my house pretty frequently. But then sometimes? the heart gut says "this is the time to say no".

And then? We all win!


BaronessBlack said...

You're so right! I think my number 3 has been easiest, not because of anything she does, but because we're more relaxed as parents!
I think also that I've learned that changes don't have to be huge. Sometimes little changes, or working towards things in baby steps, is just as good if not better, than a definite cut-off.
My friend told her son that pacifiers wear out after a few years. Then cut little bits off the pacifier when he was asleep, or distracted for a few weeks. He was sad to see it go, but he understood that it was gone and he didn't want another one.
Job done!

Becky said...

You know what? I did the same thing with Ben. He was either 3 or close to it when I pulled the "Fi" bullet. (Fi = paciFIer) and like Asher, he was amazing. Just rolled with it.
I think sometimes we don't give these kiddos enough credit. Or ourselves for that matter.

McKt said...

So true! It does all work out and stressing over it does not help the working out.

We had a similar thing with the pacifier with my 2nd. I thought it was going to be this terrible thing, but we lost it one night, and he was fine. Never looked back. I think 2nd, 3rd, and so forth children should all thank 1st children who taught their parents they were not in control!

H-Mama said...

Hindsight is 20/20 for sure. I tried everything the Super Nanny suggested for potty training... and my little angels found a loophole each time. Both of them were 3 1/2 when they decided that diapers were 'so' yesterday. ;)

I had the paci-struggle with my oldest, as well. It took 4 days. In hindsight, I'm the only one who was scarred. She doesn't recall one moment. Funny how that works.

Hang in there, Mama! Love your parenting style. :)

Anonymous said...

I think this post pretty much sums up why I want a 3rd baby. With my first I did the complete opposite of roll with-it, with my second I've gotten better and with time continue to get better. So now I want the chance to do it a third time, and to roll with it from the beginning and discover the wonder and joy of just being together instead of worrying about the next milestone.

Go Asher! (Hope you sleep well tonight mama)

5thsister said...

You are wise beyond your years, Heather!

My Bethany was about that same age when we told her it was time to give up the thumb. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be for her. There were a few tears shed, yes...but all in all, all went well.

Now my little Paul was another story...I was begging him to take his thumb, a paci, ANYTHING to help him sleep through the night (which he didn't until about 3 1/2!)

Ann Imig said...

All I really no for sure is how totally out of control I am no matter how much I try to control things.

Almost crying between that and Ellie's reminder to float.

I have been so holdy clinchy deathgrip.


Kaycee said...

I totally agree. Though it's so much easier said than done sometimes for me (for all of us probably). We have done this with our first child so far, mostly. There have been a few (paci one of them actually) where the choice was made at a specific time for specific reasons. But our daughter started potty training herself at 22 months, we were so NOT ready for that. But we went with it and it worked itself out in the end.

It kind of panics me in the other direction sometimes - like when second kiddo comes along I really have no idea when first kiddo did some of these things (others I know exactly when) so how will I know with second kiddo when to do stuff. Then I think hello duh - the same way I knew with the first one obviously. :)

ha ha - my word verifcation is "yaright"! :)

MidnightCafe said...

This is the second post I've read this evening with this general message (and both of you said it very, very well in totally different ways). I wish that most of us could learn this BEFORE we have a child, but somehow we seem unable to internalize it until we've had some practice, even when we know in our heads that it's true.

Elaine A. said...

Sounds like it went a lot better than expected. K is my first pacifier taker and I'm SO nervous about what it's going to be like when it's time to let it go. I hope I can be as "chillin'" about it.

But you're right. Trusting the heart-gut is KEY. :)

LisAway said...

Exactly! I've learned that the things I worry most about are very rarely worth worrying over. I also always feared taking away the nighttime pacifier and was always surprised at how easy it was. I think trying not to fear is helpful. I used that a lot when I was having awful problems with nursing in the early months of this last baby. Just remembering that no matter how bad anything gets it will always end! And usually with less trouble than you anticipated (if you're like me and you think you might die sometimes)

I'm with some of the others that said that the third was the charm. So much easier, mostly because, like you say, we had figured out how to roll with things more. Oh, and also there was no toddler around when he was born. That makes things muuuuch easier. (you'll see :)

Allison @ Alli 'n Son said...

Truer words have never been spoken. With my son we always let him guide us. Giving up his paci and bottles was a breeze because we let him guide us. Potty training was terrible although I did lose my patience at te end. And then he was magically trained. Let them do it in their own time, encouraging them along the way.

Tiaras said...

I'm with you- follow your instincts!
hey, I nursed my little one until she was 3 years old - got LOADS of BS on that one! Who cares I say!!

happy new Year Heather!!

Jessica said...

Congrats on the first night! Maybe he is ready! And wow, you took the words right out of my mouth- learning to relax and roll with it, trusting that things work themselves out- I wish somebody would have said that to me when I had my first baby! Not that I'd have listened ;-)

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Here's to trusting the heart-gut! CHEERS!

(PS, Dacey had her paci until she was 3.5 and then Kyle INSISTED we ditch AJ's when she turned 3. I'm like you. I would have let them go on forever with it because it's such pain to get rid of it. For everyone. Also, last vestige of babyhood anyone? Hard stuff, mama.)

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Totally agree. I started to sense this, in my gut, way back with my first. It was somewhere between the co-sleeping (not planned) and the extended breastfeeding (also not planned) that I figured it was more important to do what worked for me and my family and not worry about the shoulds. It gave me a lot of freedom to follow my heart (which was hopefully guided by some True Wisdom) and not stress so much about all the issues.

Love you, lady.

Boy Mom said...

Amen, sister momma, the things you look back on with regret are the things you were most uptight about, they are usually the things that matter least.

Great post.

Jenn said...

Yup! I had a 3.5 year old with a pacifier too! We eventually got rid of it!

CHATTY CATHY 1975 said...

5 kids - and I have to agree with you. Worry and stress as little as possible because it doesn't matter. You'll never find yourself, 80 years old, wishing you had been more stern about bedtimes for the kids or wishing you had scrubbed the floors more throughout your life. You WILL however, find yourself wishing you could spend just one more hour with your newborn together nursing @ 2am... or that you would give ANYTHING to have one more pajama party with those kids until it's way past their bedtime.

Speaking from loads of experience - I have one child who was potty trained at 19 months. And one, who is now 2 1/2 and still not. I'm ok with the occasional mid-morning potato chip and dip plate for snacktime. I'm not worried in the least that my 4 yr old still wears a pull-up to bed. And all the stress from this past year about my now 15 month old not sleeping through the night has magically gone away over the past week... as he sleeps through the night almost always now. And the funny thing... is that I'm sad about it. I won't ever have anymore babies - and won't ever have one to snuggle at 3am on a nightly basis.

So yes. Roll with it. Always :-)

Casey Freeland said...

Great advice. We have four children and the two young ones benefited from us burning ourselves out with the older ones. We are now much relaxed.



Casey Freeland said...
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